Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your pretty dress sway? Pardon, I mean: How does your pretty dress wave? Wait, that’s not right. Tell us, Bruce, which is it?
An argument that’s been brewing for nigh on 46 years has been solved today, with Bruce Springsteen’s longtime friend and manager Jon Landau admitting that a lyric published in Bruce’s official songbook and website are in fact totally incorrect, and have been incorrect for the duration of this debate.
In the opening line of Bruce’s 1975 hit Thunder Road – from his third album Born To Run – our protagonist Mary pirouettes across the porch to a Roy Orbison song on the radio while her dress undulates in a certain way which, if you listen with all your supersonic might and stare at footage of Bruce’s mouth with all your supervisual strength, could be described as “sways.”
But check every authorised source of lyrics and you will find that the sanctioned word is in fact “waves.”
In an investigation for The New Yorker, writer David Remnick managed to get on to the the afore-mentioned, Second-Most Legit Person To Ask concerning this particular question, and was told: “[It’s] sways… [dresses] do not know how to wave.” Landau also added that “any typos in official Bruce material will be corrected.”
So there you go, kids – you can take your mate out of that headlock now, ‘cos the feud is over!